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news & events / 08.02.19 /Jack Malley

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Jack Malley won a preliminary injunction enjoining a Manhattan co-op from evicting his client from the apartment that he, his wife and their kids have lived in since 1994. The case concerns a provision in many New York City proprietary leases that controls the transfer of co-op apartments from an estate of a deceased shareholder to a family member, which states: “If the Lessee shall die, consent shall not be unreasonably withheld to an assignment of the lease and shares to a financially responsible member of the Lessee’s family.” The client inherited the shares allocated to the apartment and proprietary lease appurtenant to it from his father’s estate. In 2018, the Co-op denied the client’s application to transfer the shares and proprietary lease to him from the estate on the ground that he was not financially qualified. By a July 24, 2019 decision, the Hon. Lynn R. Kotler held that Jack and his client demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits and that the co-op’s denial of the application was unreasonable given the client’s net assets, high credit score and long-standing history of good citizenship in the building. Judge Kotler also chided the co-op for not seeking clarification from the client about portions of his application that were purportedly confusing. Jack previously represented two sons in a similar case, which has become the seminal case in New York State regarding the same proprietary lease provision, in which the trial court reversed the co-op’s denial of the sons’ application, and the Appellate Division, First Department and the Court of Appeals affirmed. See Estate of Helen Del Terzo v. 33 Fifth Avenue Owners Corp., 136 A.D.3d 486 (1st Dep’t), affirmed 28 N.Y.3d 1114 (2016).